After the Department of Justice last month issued a scathing review of adolescent jails on Rikers Island, finding guards were found to exert “rampant use of unnecessary and excessive force” and an overuse of solitary confinement as a punishment for even minor infractions, the U.S. attorney’s report gave corrections officials 49 days to present their changes.
On Tuesday, New York City’s corrections commissioner responded with a detailed proposal to overhaul to the problem-plagued complex– the nation’s second-largest jail system– including a top-to-bottom review of the department’s policies by a private consulting firm the Wall Street Journal reports.
However, Joseph Ponte, New York’s newly appointed correction commissioner, gave the same-old, same-old warning that implementing such changes would take time, depending upon sufficient funding.
“I don’t have a holistic plan, but we’ve done some specific things on reducing violence in the facilities,” said Ponte said during a public meeting of the oversight board.
“Right now the system fundamentally doesn’t work” because guards have no alternative form of discipline, Ponte said.